The Institute of Learning and Teaching is currently leading an initiative to explore the uses of artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality and virtual reality (AR and VR) technologies across the University of Northampton. Building on the University STEM group chaired by the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Science and Technology, John Sinclair, this initiative seeks to draw together and learn from the experiences of colleagues from across the Faculties who are already actively using these technologies within the HE classroom, but also as part of our outreach work within local and international schools as part of an Erasmus+ collaborative research project.

Current examples of the uses of these technologies include:

  • uses of QR codes and other apps that trigger images and video on a device as part of the Foundation Degree in Learning and Teaching
  • generation of AR and VR content in Games Art
  • Digital Learning Across Boundaries with 10 institutions across 5 European countries focusing on the use of artificial realities to promote international collaboration and bringing together digital making and change making
  • embedding videos into research papers to scaffold student learning in Sports, Exercise and Life Sciences
  • using VR in Policing around key topics such as Crime Scene Management, Powers Of Arrest and Powers Of Entry
  • creating AR videos a part of Welcome and Induction
  • developing web-based AR and VR and exploring the use of AI chatbots – in Coding Clubs at local schools to Masters level Computing degrees
  • supporting Nursing students in a virtual emergency department to assess and implement treatment decisions based upon their prior knowledge and experience

While some of the examples above necessarily rely on expensive hardware solutions, many of the other activities in use are pretty low-tech, relying on student smart phones and other devices. The purpose of this initiative is to learn from our colleagues and make some recommendations to the University about a possible future direction of travel for the uses of these technologies, in order to ensure that their use is cost-effective, efficient and, importantly, inclusive – particularly in a classroom setting.

Our Information and Technology Services department are also supporting these initiatives, capitalising on the University’s strategic partnership with Hewlett Packard as part of the move to Waterside to obtain and demonstrate the kit. If you would like to trial the kit either individually or with your students, please do get in touch with them to see what is possible.

A number of the above initiatives are supported by the University’s Learning and Teaching Innovation Fund. To find out more, please see the individual project blogs.